A & E are Understaffed by 10%

A & E are Understaffed by 10%

Accident and Emergency departments in England are on average understaffed by 10% according to a survey.
Of the 166 hospital Trusts who responded to BBC 5 Live’s Freedom of Information request 101 of them came back saying that they had 1260 vacant positions.
The highest number of vacant posts were discovered in four Trusts in London.
The Department of Health have said that action was being taken with regard to the ongoing staffing problem.
A&E services have been under scrutiny since last winter when is was revealed that the 4-hour government set waiting targets were being breached on a regular basis and services were strained.
The increased number of patients coming to hospital was partly responsible but there were also problems with staff recruitment.
Nearly 43% of positions were unfilled in the Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.
It has A&E departments on two sites and staff believe that the Trust believes requires 12 consultants 41 doctors and 75 nurses.
A separate nursing union poll showed that 9 out of 10 of nurses working in acute and emergency care felt that patients were being put in danger due to the current pressures of the A&E Services.
The Royal College of Nursing which is comprised of 410000 members said that their survey had showed that 89% of nursing staff believed that the people they were meant to be caring for were being put at risk. 85% said that the strain on departments is compromising patient safety.
Over three-quarters (79%) felt that the larger numbers of people attending A&E was the reason for increased pressure on the service and 74% thought that inappropriate attendances to the hospital where people could have sought advice by NHS 111 or primary care services were to blame .
BBC 5 Live’s “5 Live Investigates” discovered that in August 2013 the average A&E department had 9.7% of it’s posts vacant. Of these empty positions most of them were nursing.
Some of these positions the Trust fill by using locums bank and agency staff but this is usually more expensive than permanent employees.
16 of the 101 Trusts which replied said that they had more consultants doctors and nurses than they had budgeted for.
About a third of Trusts with A&E units did not reply to the FOI request in 20 working days.

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